The Bourne Ultimatum

Robin Clifford of Reeling Reviews
Robin Clifford 
The Bourne Ultimatum
Laura Clifford of Reeling Reviews
Laura Clifford 

Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) is back in action in the third installment of Robert Ludlum's thriller tale as, this time, the former CIA assassin is in search of his real identity. But, high level opponents within the Company will use relentless deadly force to keep him from his mission in "The Bourne Ultimatum."

Considering the controversy that has surrounded the making of "The Bourne Ultimatum" - a grueling, year-long shoot schedule, physically demanding action (especially for Matt Damon) and a script that was, at times, being written as the scenes were being shot - this is an exciting, fast-paced thriller that teems with action-packed chase and fight sequences.

Jason's story may (or may not) be in its last chapter as Bourne is determined to find out who he is (the success of episode 3 in the franchise will likely determine if a fourth installment is in the offering). Since he was found floating, near death, in the Mediterranean in  "The Bourne Identity," Jason has been searching for answers - what is his real identity, who killed his beloved Marie (in "Bourne 2"), why is he being so relentlessly pursued by his former CIA keepers' To get these answers, Bourne must journey from Moscow, London, Paris, Madrid, Turin, and Tangiers, Morocco to New York City. All the while, CIA black ops director Noah Vosun (David Strathairn) musters his considerable forces to find Bourne and kill him. The cat and mouse game begins.

What prompted Jason to eschew his safe anonymity and enter the lion's den of the CIA? A front-page article in a London newspaper names Bourne and, by doing so, forces the former assassin to come out of the cold to contact the article's author, journalist Simon Ross (Paddy Considine). Before he can get answers, though, the reporter is gunned down in a bustling London train station. With only sketchy information to go on, Jason begins a multi-national journey that will take him back to where he began his life as a top-secret CIA assassin so many years before.

"The Bourne Ultimatum" is, first and foremost, about thrilling action. As Jason hunts for answers, CIA assets are fielded to find and destroy him. Car chases, foot chases and shootouts are the meat of the film and are well worth the price of admission. If you think one chase is good, then you will love the repeated and varied action scenes as Bourne eludes all assassins sent to do him in.

The cast is made up of both old and new faces to the franchise. Joan Allen and Julia Stiles return in "Bourne 3" with David Strathairn and Scott Glenn coming on board as CIA honchos who want Bourne dead. Albert Finney also appears as Dr. Albert Hirsch, the man who created uber assassin Jason Bourne.

Matt Damon, when he took on the role in "The Bourne Identity," seemed an unlikely choice as a secret government killer. By the end of that first film, though, the actor made the role his. Damon has put himself, physically, into his character in each of the franchise films and is convincing as an unstoppable force and a man to be reckoned with.

Director Paul Greengrass, in his second helming of the Bourne movies (he directed "The Bourne Supremacy"), again uses tight camera work, rapid fire editing and unrelenting action to tell Jason's story. The screenplay, by Tony Gilroy, Scott Z. Burns and George Nolfi, sometimes seems cobbled together but the frenetic action scenes make up for any of the script's faults. The only time the pace slows is around the midpoint when, dialog takes over and the chases/fights are put on hold. This dip is brief, though, and the thing we are here for, action, soon returns.

"The Bourne Ultimatum" is the best of the many summer sequels and will please and thrill the fans of the franchise. The previous entries accumulated over $500 million in their theatrical releases and this third installment will continue this box office juggernaut's success. I give it a B+.

Laura gives "The Bourne Ultimatum" a B+.
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